Once again, the residents of Donetsk were humiliated and insulted. Simply put, the dignity of those, who in 2014 hung a portrait of the "savior of all russians" at their home, was trampled on. They selflessly called putin, hoping that he would protect Donbas from the "Banderites" and patiently waited for him to recognize the "republic" and then to "integrate" it into russia. They believed in the prosperity of the industrial region and in sky-high salaries and pensions. They hoped that the russian passport would make them true russians and were proud to live in the capital of the most "people’s republic". In fact, for 9 years of war, they got none of the above to the fullest extent, but still cherished the thought that they were remembered and were ready to endure a little more. Imagine their disappointment when on the morning of March 20, they were told on television that the "tsar" had visited Mariupol and talked to the locals, but didn't even mention Donetsk. They did not expect such a slap in the face, although they saw that huge amounts of money were poured into the reconstruction of the "liberated" city, while their city was mercilessly destroyed after the "integration".
Since 2014, kremlin puppets have made every effort to ensure that brainwashed residents of Donbas do not lose their faith that Donetsk will soon become a "garden city" with a thriving economy. Russian and local propaganda tirelessly told stories about how industrial enterprises are being restored, new mines are opening and local products are being sold more and more. There were even tales about investors who were already lining up to invest in the region!
For the sake of persuasiveness, in July 2021, an international forum "Russia-Donbas: Unity of Priorities" was held in the so-called "republic’s capital". To ensure the "international" nature of the event, they invited Chechens, Abkhazians and Belarusians, who had a rather vague idea of the meaning of the word "investment". However, they appreciated the buffet, their stay at the Donbas Palace hotel and the girls who were sent to entertain them.
The pro-putin party United Russia, which organized the forum, promised to transform the economy of Donbas in the near future. The proposed projects envisaging job creation, raising standard of living and developing medicine and education.
"Several billion rubles are planned to be included in this program. This is a large sum. More precise figures will be disclosed later when the program is approved. It is 90% formed. I think that some parameters of this program will be refined by the end of the year, taking into account the fact that an increasing number of Donbas residents are becoming citizens of the Russian Federation", - said Viktor Vodolatsky, the first deputy chairman of the state duma committee on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration, and Relations with Compatriots, to journalists. According to him, this program is designed for three years.
The leader of the "DNR" responded by thanking the "big brother" for supporting the young "republic". "We understand that it is thanks to Russia's help that Donbas is living and developing. And this is largely your merit - real patriots, members of the United Russia party", - Pushilin said.
The year 2021 came to an end, but the figures were never disclosed. They also did not report on the program itself, which, according to Vodolatsky, was already 90% formed in July. The people of Donetsk did not see any new factories built or new jobs created. The medical and educational sectors continued to suffer from a shortage of personnel.
In September 2022, after the "integration", the people of Donetsk were reminded that Donbas is on the brink of major changes related to the development of the region's economic potential. "From an economic point of view, we are expecting grand investments, growth in construction and reconstruction. This will be a different life and standard of living for the population, and the opportunities that will arise will be in the development of the banking system and the financial sector. We are expecting huge changes in the financial system and investment attraction", - said Marina Zheynova, the "chairman of the committee" of the "People's Council" on the budget, finance, and economic policy, issuing another portion of lies.
The residents of Donetsk were supposed to believe that the "republic" has the ability to implement large investment projects. And that in a couple of years, people from all over the world will come to Donbas to happily live and work there. However, in fact, only the military who had a completely different mission - to destroy and kill, came to Donetsk.
And in 2023, when the infrastructure of the "republic" is almost completely destroyed, the rulers of the "people's republic" came up with another fairy tale to boost the fighting spirit of the "russian world enthusiasts". Now they are telling them about the creation of a free economic zone, which will allow attracting investors to the region.
"A free economic zone, which provides a number of preferences and benefits in terms of taxation, is envisaged. We are looking at what other options we can offer for investments and businesses’ attraction", – Pushilin said in an interview with the Belarus 1 TV channel, which was broadcasted by all propaganda media on March 12.
"Chairman of the republic’s government" Vitaliy Khotsenko even stated that it will be a unique model of the free economic zone. "There are no such conditions anywhere. The basic conditions are "Crimean", but with a longer period... for everyone... property taxes, profit taxes will be at zero rate. Land plus a single social tax is being discussed... But it will definitely be better than in Crimea and in the zones that exist in the (rest of) Russia", - Khotsenko said.
And while another project aimed at the prosperity of the region is still in the "development" stage, the "authorities" talk every day about the economic victories that are about to happen. For example, on the website of the "prime minister's" press service, it is written that the Yasynuvata Machine-Building Plant will produce equipment for diamond mining in Yakutia. Representatives of the Makiivka "administration" joyfully reported that a cable factory plans to open branches and warehouses in St. Petersburg, the moscow region, Rostov-on-Don and Nizhny Novgorod.
"Chairman of the government" announced at a briefing that in the near future they intend to restore about 20 large industrial enterprises in the "republic". However, he forgot to specify which ones. He also reported that the "DNR" has prepared a program for the socio-economic development of the region until 2030 and presented it to deputy prime minister of the russian federation Khusnullin. According to him, the main task is to ensure that residents return to the "republic", thus it is necessary to restore industrial and communal infrastructure, improve the quality of life and services provided. "It is necessary to develop the transport system and road facilities in our region, create new jobs with decent wages, build and restore social and cultural facilities, and launch enterprises", - Khotsenko summed up.
How can simple Donetsk residents resist shedding tears of happiness when they are so convincingly told on television that the "republic" will develop machine building, agriculture, housing and commercial construction? "This time they won't deceive us for sure", - they thought. Because even Mishustin himself announced that the government intends to submit a bill to the state duma on the creation of a free economic zone in the "LDNR" and the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson oblasts.
In turn, Pushilin shared another joyful news with the people: investors from other regions of russia are showing interest in investing in the economy. "Right now there are very good signals, a good trend regarding the fact that investors are becoming interested, even though the hostilities continue. Nevertheless, entrepreneurs and investors see certain prospects. This is very beneficial overall for the business development trends that we observe", - he said. And he emphasized several times that as a result of these "good trends", Donetsk will receive a "new look with elements of past periods". Apparently, he is subtly hinting that the once-developed industrial center of Donbas will soon return to the state of a wild field.
On the ninth year of the occupation of Donbas, even well-known russian propagandists realized that the "republic's" ideology is built on total lies. For example, Tetiana Montian in an interview with blogger Pavel Ivanov talked about how Donbas residents with children are forced to live in shelled areas because they don't have the money to leave. Meanwhile, the authorities assure that everyone was evacuated.
Her interview was published online on March 3. When asked "Are local residents really fleeing Donetsk?" Montian replied: "Those, who could afford it, have left long ago. Those, who don't have the opportunity, didn't. Where to run, how to live? People are strange! Where to run if you have no money, nothing to eat, it's impossible to find a job or to send children to school or kindergarten! Who needs you, where will you run?", - she said. "We travel along the frontline and ask people on camera why they haven't left. People just laugh into our faces. They say that according to the official documents, they have long been evacuated. But in fact, no one even tried to evacuate them. Or they are evacuated under such horrible conditions that it is better to live under bombs. That's the truth, I'm not making it up, people say it on camera. People say that since the beginning of the war, no one has come to them and brought humanitarian aid", - she said.
Montian indirectly acknowledged the fact that the bulk of russian propaganda about "protecting the residents of Donbas" is a lie. And if even people like Montian have finally realized this, then what can be said about people who live here and see that there are no prospects for the "capital" to achieve the promised prosperity.
All the beautiful statements by the "authorities" are not implemented. And after putin's notorious visit to Mariupol, all pro-russian-minded residents of Donetsk finally lost faith in the idea that Donetsk is important to russia as the main city of the "republic". Although they somehow suspected it already. After all, on TV, they constantly show how housing, hospitals, supermarkets are being built in the "liberated" Mariupol, the city park is being reconstructed, new attractions are being installed, and fountains are being launched. And Donetsk is only mentioned in military reports, and they still talk about how they are eliminating the consequences of shelling, cleaning up garbage dumps, and eliminating accidents.
Every day more and more locals are leaving Donetsk. They are tired of loving this city and have lost faith that it will ever be like it was before. These are people with different civil positions, mostly young and middle-aged. Thus, the once-flourishing capital of the mining region is gradually turning into a broken city of old people and military personnel. And its real perspective is only the wild field. "A new look, but with elements of past periods". This is actually the only case when Pushilin told the truth.
Liusia Molchanova, Donetsk, for OstroV